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LA Auto Show – 2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R

Nissan launched its latest Sentra SE-R at the 2006 LA Auto Show Number II. The SE-R model is the higher performance version of Nissan’s bread-and-butter compact sedan. The SE-R will be in Nissan showrooms in March 2007 – as a 2007 model year product.
Think of SE-R as a Q-Ship. Subtle design cues on the exterior with an upgraded interior in terms of seat trim and instrument panel gauges. But, with the mild cosmetics, the story is under the skin.

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SE-R is available in two states of tune – the plain-jane SE-R and the SE-R Spec V. The Spec V is the really high performance version putting out 200-horsepower. Nissan is touting 200-horsepower for less than $20,000. For those of us who actually select vehicles by horsepower per dollar (I select mine by horsepower by dollar of lease payment), the Spec V is a pretty good bargain.
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Spec V Upgrades Above base SE-R are Substantial
Quoting from the Nissan Press Release, “Among the unique Spec V engine features are use of a unique resin intake manifold and dual branch exhaust manifold; revised piston crown shape to support a higher compression ratio (10.5:1); iridium tipped spark plugs for improved combustion characteristics; and a revised cam shaft profile, reinforced connecting rods and 8-counterweight crankshaft to achieve a higher redline limit of 6,800 rpm.
With these modifications, the power achieved is 200 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 180 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm (when using premium unleaded fuel). Helping to put all this power to the ground is an optional Helical Limited-Slip Differential (available with Spec V only). The Spec V model is available only with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. It also has unique suspension, brakes, tires and body structure changes (versus the base SE-R).
In the area of chassis, handling and braking performance, the SE-R Spec V is equipped with higher rate springs, shocks and bushings; 225/45WR17 uni-directional high performance tires; high capacity front disc brakes with 12.6-inch rotors; and a revised cowl top structure and a unique trunk mounted ā€œVā€ brace, both utilized for increased body rigidity.” Whew, not bad.
Base SE-R is No Slouch
The base SE-R has a 177HP 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with paddle shifting CVT (not available with the 6-speed manual). While we haven’t driven the SE-R with paddle shifters, if it is half as fun as the Mitsubishi Lancer with less horsepower and paddle shifting CVT, then the Sentra SE-R will be a winner.

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